I never had to worry about personal growth and development in the Army. It was spelled out for me with programmed schools and assignments. We even had a reading list. Now I am on my own to figure out how to keep learning, growing and getting better.
With respect to personal growth and development, I have learned that intentional is better and faster than accidental. John C. Maxwell contrasts accidental and intentional growth in his book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.
I found myself not doing enough things on the intentional side. Here are three things I did that you can do to become more intentional.
1. Determine your purpose before doing something.
Before going to an event, before reading a book, before starting a project, take a minute and write down a sentence on why you are doing this. What do you want to get out of it? By doing this you automatically focus on your desired outcome and will end up with better results than just going with the flow.
2. Make a commitment to invest in your growth and development.
Growth doesn’t just happen. We can stay busy leading, working and volunteering but that doesn’t mean we are necessarily growing.
Before you invest in yourself you must know where to invest. A place to start is to discover your unique strengths and gifts. This is the best way to get better and grow.
After making a commitment and discovering where to invest, you need to develop a plan. Just like a budget helps you allocate your money, a growth plan helps you allocate your time and your money into opportunities that give the greatest return.
Now that I know the areas I want to develop, I try to go to seminars and conferences and read books that address those specific areas. I also added coaching and mentoring to my plan. I am being more intentional to insure I get the best return on my investment of resources.
3. Pick several tasks that are critical to your success and do them on a regular basis.
For me to be successful as a coach, trainer and speaker I have to have content to use in seminars and speaking engagements. My list has three things I need to do at least five days a week to get better as a speaker and trainer. I read to find material, write to produce content and practice delivery of that content.
I challenge you to commit to being more intentional in 2015 about learning and growing as a leader.